McLay Boats are fairly new to the Australian market but have enjoyed a distinguished reputation for 10 years in New Zealand. Their new offering, the 5.25m Sportsman Side Console, demonstrates the Kiwi company’s quality build and design – this is one amazing boat!
On first sight, the 5.25m Sportsman looks like a sleek fibreglass craft. The strong 3mm sides are an impressive flat sheet of alloy that look flawless. The bottom is a 4mm fully welded-in tread plate metal, with full underfloor buoyancy. The internals of this boat are simple, as everything has been designed for easy access.
The cockpit consists of two padded fold down seats; the helm and passenger, with four options to relocate. An extra seat could also be added either in the cockpit or on the front raised deck.
The front deck is raised just enough to give you a higher view for fishing. There is a wide lower flat deck along with massive internal flat sections to the gunnels, which is unique to this boat and really makes it comfortable to lean against while fishing and travelling.
The front deck has one large hatch with a welded flat floor inside. This can keep your tackle and gear safe and dry. There is enough room to store nearly all the gear you would need on a day’s fishing.
The rear of the boat is very practical in its design. It’s free of steps and compartments but includes three great additions: The first is an enclosed hatch behind the skipper, perfect to house your battery and wiring helm. The second is another dry hatch on the port side, a perfect spot for tackle or even food. Lastly, in between these hatches is a live bait tank ready to be plumbed or used as storage, or even as an esky or ice slurry.
The built in side pockets on the internal port side can be used to store general tackle or, if you carpeted the inside, a fantastic place to store rods. The starboard side also has one small side pocket behind the console and a longer one in front, which are both quite wide. All the internal sides of the boat are finished to the floor, and the carpet is a handy addition to keep the boat a little quieter when running.
The gunnels have rails on the aft and bow, with rod holders in perfect spots to suit trolling for pelagics. On the bow there is a fully drainable anchor well with a hatch to keep as much rope and chain secured away for a large anchor.
The helm is basic but practical. This model had not yet been fitted with all the extras most fishos would add, like sounder and GPS, but there is ample room to fit them in the dash or up on top of the console. Under the console is a lockable compartment that you can keep your important safety gear or other extras you may take with you on the water.
The throttle is in a very comfortable position. It feels like an arm extension, which is perfect for running long distances.
The fuel tank is massive. It runs up the boat under the floor and holds 130L, which is plenty for the purpose of this boat. The transom has a pod style set up (Portofino) where you can have the security of the flat section either side of the motor. It also has a ladder fitted with grab rails each side.
The Sportsman is designed so you can fully customise it according to your needs, such as electric motors, rod racks, sounders, VHF radios, walk through transoms, bait boards or even a berley bucket.
The ride of this boat blew me away! Not only did it look like a fibreglass boat, it ran like one. It was quiet, no slapping on the water, it just cut through the chop as well as any boat of its class. I was very impressed and it is a credit to its design.
The 5.25m was fast clean and powerful, thanks to the Yamaha 100hp four-stroke. This four-cylinder outboard had ample motor to take four guys fishing with all their gear. Its top speed was 65km/h, which felt very fast but incredibly safe. I am sure a few small refinements and this boat would hit 70km/h with ease. I threw it into some sharp turns at speed and it handled very well. Turning was made easier due to the hydraulic steering.
The McLay 5.25m Sportsman is the perfect all round boat. If you want a boat that could do everything this would be it! Whether fishing impoundments for barra or casting poppers on the reef, this is your boat. You could even fit a couple of ski hooks and tow a couple of water skiers with ease!
If you painted the sides up, the Sportsman would look just like a USA bass boat – its lines are that clean. Colour is an extra feature.
The package sits on a custom built Tinka trailer model number MT170MO. It has galvanised springs and rims, and mechanical over ride braking system. It’s fully rollered so launch and retrieve was a breeze. It also has a spare wheel and carrier for safety.
Reef Marine in Mackay will happily take you for a ride and can even look after your finance. You can contact them on 07 4957 3521 or visit www.reefmarine.net for more information. This package as tested was priced at $42,550 with accessory kit, 2nm safety gear for 3 persons, registrations and numbers.
|Recommended hp:||100hp or 170kg|
|Hull weight:||460kg approx.|
|Transom shaft:||20” Length|